Kentucky Offense Strikes Early and Often in Comfortable Win

Kentucky Offense Strikes Early and Often in Comfortable Win

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky hit three home runs and piled up 12 runs in the first three innings on its way to cruising past Western Kentucky 17-2 on a windy afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Wildcats have now scored 67 runs in their last five games and outscored their opponents 29-2 in their first two home games. 
Both White and Carson nearly hit for the cycle, with White needing a triple and Carson a single. White is now 8-of-10 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI in three games since returning after missing five games with a hip issue. The junior preseason All-American’s home run against the Hilltoppers smacked off the scoreboard in left-center field.
“It’s so good to get Evan White back in there,” UK coach Nick Mingione said. “He makes everybody better. Two days in a row we’ve done a really good job (controlling) the strike zone.”
Carson, a senior outfielder who moved to the top of the order the past two games, continues to square the ball up, hitting a double, triple and home run, which went into the teeth of the wind. Junior infielder Riley Mahan had his second consecutive four RBI game on the strength of two doubles and now has 14 on the season.
Freshman left-hander Zack Thompson, who pitched better than his final line looked in his first collegiate start at Liberty last week, earned his first victory. The Selma, Ind. native went 6.0 innings, gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out seven. 
The Wildcats were locked in at the plate from the outset and ended with four players registering at least three hits – Marcus Carson, Evan White, Kole Cottam and Riley Mahan – and three others posting two hits. Twelve of the Cats’ 21 hits went for extra bases, including seven doubles, two triples and three home runs. 
Freshman left-hander Zack Thompson pitched better than his final line indicated in his first collegiate start last week at Liberty but he fared much better against Western Kentucky. The Selma, Ind. native threw 6.0 innings, gave up five hits, two runs (one earned), two walks and struck out seven to earn his first career victory. The UK bullpen once again cleaned up the final innings nicely in the easy win.
Bottom 1st – Evan White, Kole Cottam and Tristan Pompey all singled before Riley Mahan hit a two-run single to RCF. Luke Heyer singled to CF to score Pompey and Mahan scored on an error by the centerfielder on the play. Heyer then scored on an errant throw by the catcher trying to catch Troy Squires stealing second. UK 5, WKU 0.
Bottom 2nd – Marcus Carson homered into the teeth of the wind in RF to start the inning. White ripped a double down the LF line and Cottam singled to LF. Pompey doubled to deep LCF to score both White and Cottam and was followed by Heyer’s two-run home run. UK 10, WKU 0.
Top 3rd – Kaleb Duckworth singled and came home on Grayson Ivey’s double to RCF. UK 10, WKU 1.
Bottom 3rd – White homered off the scoreboard, his second in as many days. Reks tripled over the CF’s head and came home on Cottam’s single to LF. UK 12, WKU 1. 
Bottom 5th – Mahan doubled over the head of the centerfielder, scoring Reks and Pompey. UK 14, WKU 1.
Top 6th – Kevin Lambert homered to LF. UK 14, WKU 2.
Bottom 6th – Storm Wilson hit a SAC fly with the bases loaded to drive in pinch runner Zeke Lewis. UK 15, WKU 2.
Bottom 8th – Carson’s leadoff triple was followed by Gunnar McNeill’s double past the third baseman, scoring Carson. McNeill scored on a passed ball. UK 17, WKU 2.
• Preseason All-America junior first baseman Evan went 3-of-4 with a double and a home run. He is now hitting .714 on the season (10-of-14).
     o White now has a 20-game hitting streak, just one shy of tying his career-long streak.
     o White has 164 career hits, ranking him 23rd on UK’s all-time list. 
     o He is now hitting .359 for his career, which currently ranks him 5th all-time at UK (min. 300 at bats).
• Senior outfielder Marcus Carson hit his first home run of the season and fell just a single short of hitting for the cycle.
• Junior infielder Riley Mahan had his second consecutive four RBI night, again tying his career high. 
     o Mahan has a team-high 14 RBI on the season.
• Freshman left-handed starter Zack Thompson earned his first collegiate victory. 
• The Cats have outhit their opponent in each of the past eight games.
UK returns to Cliff Hagan Stadium for a three-game weekend series against No. 23 UC-Santa Barbara, a 2016 College World Series participant. Game times are 4 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via and iHeart Radio or 98.5 FM in the Lexington area. The game also will be aired on SECN+.

Related Stories

View all